I happened to be up at UD’s main library today, and saw a book called The Mind of an Archbishop, by Archbishop Alter. It was a collection of various articles and speeches turned into a book for his Golden Jubilee as a priest, in 1960.

It was incredibly relevant to our Fortnight For Freedom, because a good chunk of it dealt with issues of church and state, and with explaining and defending the Church’s stand on marriage, abortion, birth control, and the like.

This book was copyright to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, so maybe they should think about reprinting it as an inexpensive ebook, or putting chunks of it in the archdiocesan newspaper.

Anyway, here’s some samples from it:

“….the general attitude of society continues to be that… religion… should be restricted to the bounds of private life, or perhaps even banished to a kind of underground… Far from being a negligible element in our civilization, as the modern secular world is inclined to think, religion… can be ignored only at the cost of the complete subversion of the social order and the widespread collapse of our historical culture. Religion is, in short, the very basis of our culture and civilization…

“Our civilization is not something that just happened… As Christian truth advances, society improves. As Christian truth retreats, society falls first into confusion and then into decay. The inner spirit, the driving force… of our culture and civilization… has no other foundation than the Christian Gospel.”

Here’s another good bit:

“Christ… had come to regenerate human society, and in consequence, it was fitting that He should begin His ministry where society begins. Because society begins with the family, and the family begins with marriage, His first task was to sanctify the marriage bond.

“…At present the Christian tradition, as regards marriage and the family, is under attack. As faith has declined, a secular attitude towards marriage and the Christian code of domestic ethics has grown. Purely human laws are being substituted for divine law…”

And here’s something that sounds familiar:

“In November 1959, the Catholic Bishops of the United States issued a joint statement on artificial birth control. Ever since the publication of the Bishops’ statement, there has been a running commentary in the press on the question…

“To keep the record straight, certain facts must be borne in mind. The first of these is that the Catholic Bishops did not take the initiative in precipitating this controversy. Their statement was issued only after a sequence of events…

“That same week in which the Catholic Bishops were meeting in Washington, the Planned Parenthood Association held a national conference in New York City, in the course of which Bishop James A. Pike of the Episcopal Church… stated that the Catholic Church would no doubt, in the course of time, modify its own ethical position on artificial birth control… the Catholic Bishops… considered that a statement was mandatory on their part to avoid any further doubt about the Church’s position.

“…they want to change the laws… When we as Catholics enter a protest against this effort, by a strange twist of logic, we are the ones who are accused of wanting to impose our particular convictions as a norm of conduct on others… they should not force their convictions on us. It is the Planned Parenthood Association and their supporters who want to change the existing order of things.

“…Children are not a disease like cholera to be extirpated….”

 

 

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